Establishing Good Practice for Human Rights-Based Approaches to Mental Health Care and Psychosocial Support in Kenya

Faraaz Mahomed, Jacqueline Bhabha, Michael Ashley Stein, and Dainius Pūras Abstract A human rights-based approach (HRBA) to health has long been seen as an important way in which to address public health needs in a manner that is equitable and conducive to social justice. Yet the actual content of an HRBA to health remains unspecific, and therefore implementation remains heterogeneous. This situation is even more challenging in the field of…

A Health-Based Case against Canadian Arms Transfers to Saudi Arabia

Rhonda Ferguson and Zarlasht Jamal Abstract Under the Arms Trade Treaty, state parties must assess the extent to which the export of conventional arms might contribute to, inter alia, serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The stated aims of Canada’s arms export licensing decision-making process are, similarly, to assess such risks on a case-by-case basis. This paper examines Canada’s ongoing arms transfer arrangements with Saudi Arabia in…

Police Discrimination, Misconduct, and Stigmatization of Female Sex Workers in Kenya: Associations with Delayed and Avoided Health Care Utilization and Lower Consistent Condom Use

David Kuria Mbote, Laura Nyblade, Caroline Kemunto, Kayla Giger, Joshua Kimani, Pia Mingkwan, Stella Njuguna, Emmanuel Oga, and John D. Kraemer Abstract Discrimination and violence against sex workers by police are common in many populations and is associated with negative health outcomes, as well as being per se violations of human rights laws and norms. There is a close and mutually reinforcing nexus between legally actionable rights violations and stigma,…

The Silence at AIDS 2020 Virtual

Sara L.M. Davis For decades, the International AIDS Conference has successfully convened a massive biannual meeting, bringing together a diverse community of scientists, researchers, activists and officials, as well as a smattering of celebrities. At a turning point with a battered global strategy and the devastation caused by a second global pandemic, COVID-19, the global AIDS movement has never been in more urgent need of such frank and diverse conversations.…

Arctic Suicide, Social Medicine, and the Purview of Care in Global Mental Health

Lucas Trout and Lisa Wexler Abstract Youth suicide is a significant health disparity in circumpolar indigenous communities, with devastating impacts on individual, family, and community levels. This study draws on structured interviews and ethnographic work with health professionals in the Alaskan Arctic to examine the meanings assigned to Alaska Native youth suicide, as well as the health systems that shape clinicians’ practices of care. By defining suicide as psychogenic on…

Reconceptualizing Psychosis: The Hearing Voices Movement and Social Approaches to Health

Rory Neirin Higgs Abstract The Hearing Voices Movement is an international grassroots movement that aims to shift public and professional attitudes toward experiences—such as hearing voices and seeing visions—that are generally associated with psychosis. The Hearing Voices Movement identifies these experiences as having personal, relational, and cultural significance. Incorporating this perspective into mental health practice and policy has the potential to foster greater understanding and respect for consumers/survivors diagnosed with…

BOOK REVIEW: Why Prosecution Is Not the Go-To Tool to Secure Human Rights

Marge Berer Beyond Virtue and Vice: Rethinking Human Rights and Criminal Law, edited by Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. This multi-authored book, edited by Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman, raises questions about when and why human rights defenders promoting sexuality, reproductive, and gender-based rights as human rights are increasingly calling for the use of criminal law as an enforcement mechanism Its…

Human Rights and the Confinement of People Living with Dementia in Care Homes

Linda Steele, Ray Carr, Kate Swaffer, Lyn Phillipson, and Richard Fleming Abstract This paper responds to growing concerns in human rights practice and scholarship about the confinement of people living with dementia in care homes. Moving beyond the existing focus in human rights scholarship on the role of restrictive practices in confinement, the paper broadens and nuances our understanding of confinement by exploring the daily facilitators of confinement in the…

Crisis Response as a Human Rights Flashpoint: Critical Elements of Community Support for Individuals Experiencing Significant Emotional Distress

Peter Stastny, Anne M. Lovell, Julie Hannah, Daniel Goulart, Alberto Vasquez, Seana O’Callaghan, and Dainius Pūras Abstract         This paper proposes a set of nine critical elements underpinned by human rights principles to support individuals experiencing a serious crisis related to mental health problems or psychosocial disabilities. These elements are distilled from a range of viable alternatives to traditional community mental health approaches and are linked to a normative human rights…

PERSPECTIVE Traditional Healing Practices Involving Psychoactive Plants and the Global Mental Health Agenda: Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Challenges in the “Right to Science” Framework

José Carlos Bouso and Constanza Sánchez-Avilés Introduction: Global mental health and traditional medicines The global mental health (GMH) movement aims to establish a world in which every human can access mental health services based on two fundamental principles: respect for human rights and evidence-based treatments. Despite being criticized, especially for its neocolonial tendency to impose psychiatric systems that defy local epistemologies, this movement is garnering increasing attention.1 The anti-psychiatry movement…